f.pier
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UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:05 am

Would you like that your government decides to change the driving way within a few years?

I think that driving on the left is quite "strange" for me, but I also think that you can have some benefit by the "change".

Cars would cost less, because cars manufacturers wouldn't be forced to make different cars, and the risk of accidents would be lower.

last week I went to Glasgow and I rented a car, but sincerely I was really disappointed and at a certain point I almost had an accident. Luckily everything went OK, and then I drove in the right way, but I sincerely think that it would be a good thing.
 
David_itl
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:40 am


Why can't Europe drive on the left instead?

David
 
RayPettit
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:44 am

As far as I am aware, the last time any country, certainly with any material number of cars, changed to drive on the right was Sweden around 1968. As I understand it all traffic accept fire engines, police cars and ambulances on emergency call were banned for a period of 24 hours

Now 35 years on, the number of cars on our roads has risen several fold. It would now be totally impractical to change. I think that Sweden renewed most of its buses back then (passengers would have otherwise had to board in the middle of the road!).

How many cars would have to be renewed in Britain? What about motorway junctions and flyovers - how would they work? Think of the number of signs. I could extend this list but I hope that you have realised by now that its a total non-starter. A non-starter on these grounds, nothing to do with the Britain being different. Back in the days when there were less cars and no motorways, it may have JUST been possible, but then very few people took their car abroad and the people back then probably did not see the need for it. Remember, Sweden did have a land border with Norway and Finnland who drove on the right, so their need was a little more justified. But they could not have changed with today's levels of cars and the motorway infrastructure.

Ray
 
cedarjet
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:50 am

No way! Why change it when we got it right the first time? Australians, Irish and others seem to agree with us as well.

Luxembourg is the one to avoid (this may have changed): three lanes. One lane in one direction. One lane for the other. Middle lane for overtaking. In both directions. Aaaaarrrgh!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
bobrayner
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:56 am

Yes, the changeover would be a huge hassle...
However, it's a one-off hit.

Having all vehicles different to the rest of the world - as an ever-larger proportion of cars driven in the UK are made abroad, and vice versa - is an ongoing problem.

(which also gives car manufacturers an extra opportunity to charge extra in the UK)

If you're going to change which side of the road people drive on, I'd also like to see a change to metric signposts at the same time.  Smile
(Oh, and a change to priorities, and revised speed limits, and destroy all mini-roundabouts, and ban all the essex boy fiestas / saxos / rover 25s with bean-can exhausts and bodykit/alloys worth more than the car...)
Cunning linguist
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:12 am

I come from a country that drives on the right, yet I have no trouble driving on the left whilst living here in the UK. I see no reason why the British should have to change sides; it really isn't necessary, or a problem, in my opinion.
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 8:17 am

A changeover would cause too much hassle, time, money and resources. Plus i see no need to drive on the right.

In Arsene we trust!!
 
Guest

RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:36 pm

We drive to the left as does most of Asia. *Australia* - so I would say there quite a few of us lefties about. LOL

I believe the reason why the British and colonies drive on the left is to do with miliatary ettiquette. As in you always need to salute to your right.

AKA walk to the left of your commander so you can salute with your right.

Anyone care to confirm this?

Cheers,

mb
 
paulc
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:41 pm

The cost would also be very high as roundabouts are designed to 'force' people to go in a clockwise direction around them.

As for metric signposts the majority of people still measure distance/weight/height etc with imperial units not metric despite the attempts by eu to get us to change. To change all the roadsigns would also be very expensive.

It would also be seen as another attempt by the eu to interfere in the UK.
Do people really have a problem when driving on the 'wrong' side of the road compared to at home. Driving in the usa is not a problem for tourists visiting although I think americans sometimes have a problem in the uk - mainly as most cars here are manual gearbox not auto.

Many nations stil drive on the left, Australia, Japan, India etc
English First, British Second, european Never!
 
UTA_flyinghigh
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 4:09 pm

I just moved to DUB from CMF, and the major hassle is not driving on the other side of the road - it's having the steering wheel and gearshift at the opposite of what you're used to. Other than that, you get used to it quite quickly, so quickly in fact , when I came back for a few days because of the airshow at LBG, I started driving on the left side... Laugh out loud
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Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:26 pm

MX5_boy, I believe it goes back a lot further than that. Driving on the left stems from the days of horsemanship, whereby most people had their sword in their right hand, and their shield in their left. Therefore, both in battle, and in jousting tournaments they would pass each other to the left.

The rest of Europe was the same, it was Napoleon who decided to change the roads to the other side, which is why, when he conquered it, the rest of Europe fell into line, and why Britain didn't.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
Andreas
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:44 pm

AH, I see...it's all the French's mistake Big grin Big grin Big grin
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Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:49 pm

Funnily enough Andreas, it is! Big grin I'm not sure why the US went the same way, maybe because the British drive on the left and after independence they wanted to change, but yes, had Napoleon been stopped early on, continental Europe would probably still be on the left.

So, it's less France's fault, and more yours for letting the little general get away with it for so long.  Big grin
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
Andreas
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:55 pm

Well, in last years WC, they did fly home after the first round, totally embarassing, even more so than England, ok, late, I agree, but in the end, we didn't let them get away with it  Nuts  Nuts  Nuts

...sort of...
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ha763
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:21 pm

I doubt that the side we in the US drive on has anything to do with our independence given that the automobile was introduced well after the US gained its independence. Actually, the US has always driven on the right-side of the road, but many of the first cars built in the US had drivers sitting in the right seat. This was so that the driver wouldn't exit the car into traffic. The driver seat was changed to the left side to reduce head on collisions.

Some pictures showing early US cars with right hand drivers:
http://www.aaca.org/autohistory/photohistory/pix01.html
http://www.aaca.org/autohistory/photohistory/pix03.html
 
Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:25 pm

Ha763, roads existed before the introduction of the motor car. In towns and cities you would still have needed a system of priority with one cart on one side of the road and those coming in the other direction on the other. It seems reasonable to assume that the decision was made some time before cars were introduced, as it was in Europe. Cars were not exactly common when Napoleon was in power you know.  Big grin
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
teva
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 7:03 pm

Shhh.... Don't repeat it.... In continental Europe, we drive on the RIGHT side of the raod....
So..people driving differently drive on the WRONG side of the road...  Laugh out loud
Teva  Innocent
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swissgabe
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 9:34 pm

RayPettit
The last country which switched from left to right was Myanmar (former Burma) and I don't know if there is another former British colony driving on the right side.

Btw, does anyone know why Japan drives on the left side as well? Is it because the British influence in the 18th century?
Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
 
paulc
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:44 pm

Swissgabe,

how about the USA ?? it was a British colony until 1776  Smile - There is also Canada to consider
English First, British Second, european Never!
 
swissgabe
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:57 pm

Paulc
Well, didn't think about that. Thanks for the hint ... Did they always use to drive on the right in the US/Canada, why not on the left?
Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
 
Leezyjet
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:06 pm

I really don't have a problem driving on the "Wrong" side of the road when I'm in Europe or the US, as long as I'm driving a car that corresponds i.e. a left hand drive car when driving on the right.

Where I do have a problem is when I'm driving a RIGHT hand car on the RIGHT. Now that is scary when your driving along in the gutter and right next to parked cars, and forget about overtaking unless you are on a dual carrigeway. Junctions and Roundabouts are scary too -it's so easy to go onto the wrong side - you really have to concentrate then !!.

When I first started in the airline industry, I escorted an American couple that had just flown in by private jet to their hire car. The guy couldn't drive the thing as it was a manual so I had to go collect it for him, it was funny watching them kangaroo away down the road making a loud grinding noise !!. Poor car.

If they eventually start building drive-by-wire cars, then you will be able to just switch the controls from one side to the other so won't be as much of a problem.

 Smile

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
EGGD
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:17 pm

Well, it makes more sense to drive on the left anyway. Because right hand drive cars suit right handed drivers more, and obviously there are more right handed people in the world than left  Smile. I don't mind driving on the left but obviously I prefer the right so I can drive a left hand drive car, just alot easier being a left hander ...  Big grin
 
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sebolino
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:11 am

Well, it makes more sense to drive on the left anyway. Because right hand drive cars suit right handed drivers more, and obviously there are more right handed people in the world than left

Well EGGD, that's precisely the opposite. The gears on the right hand is in left-hand cars, which is better for right handers.
 
vafi88
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:14 am

What's the point, I think the UK built the system to their wants/needs, plus, don't fix what isn't broken...
I'd like to elect a president that has a Higher IQ than a retarted ant.
 
ha763
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 1:50 pm

Banco, I've seen prints of early New York City paintings that show horse-drawn carriages/wagons being pulled all over the streets in both directions. Here's a print that shows this: http://store4.yimg.com/I/photonewyork_1744_1745710

However, I've always seen pictures/paintings of trolleys travelling on the right side of the street, so this may be the reason we drive on the right.
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:31 pm


Austria had their changeover in 1938 when she, well, "joined" the Greater German Empire. Fortunately, when Austria and Germany became separated again in 1945, the Austrians retained the system of driving of the right instead of switching back.

Daniel Smile
 
EGGD
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:54 pm

Well EGGD, that's precisely the opposite. The gears on the right hand is in left-hand cars, which is better for right handers.

Not at all!! Its usually easier (before you start driving you'll be able to tell the difference, its like playing the guitar if you start playing right handed when you are left handed you'll think thats the easiest way for you), to hold the steering wheel with your stronger hand, I can visualize it in my head just like before I bought my first guitar and i imagined which way would be easier.

Trust me on this one, Having a left hand drive car benefits left handed people  Big grin
 
cancidas
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Sun Jul 13, 2003 10:30 pm

Are tourists who are not accustomed to driving on the left really that bad at it? I have only had the pleasure of visiting the UK once but never drove. I would think that people would be more careful and attuned to what they're doing when they're not familiar with it. I consider myself a good driver and think that if I did drive in the UK then I would make my best effort avoid killing someone.  Smile Although I don't know how easy it will be for me to change. I drive with only my left hand, shift gears with my right. Anyone know this feeling and can give me advise?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
 
Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Mon Jul 14, 2003 4:40 pm

Well, put it this way Cancidas, the British are the best drivers in Europe, in terms of the fact that they have the busiest roads in Europe, and the lowest death rate, although for some reason the number of children killed is actually quite high relatively speaking. Now, large numbers of Britons take their cars to Europe every year, and they then become a liability, with the highest accident rate of any national grouping.

So it seems pretty clear that the switch from one side of the road to the other is a pretty big factor in the number of accidents.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
racko
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:18 pm

"they have the busiest roads in Europe"

Are you sure about that? I would think that the central european countries with the transit traffic have far more busy roads.
 
Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:40 pm

Pretty sure, Racko. Think about it, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, extremely high car ownership and usage levels (dire public transport!), all on a small island.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
gkirk
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:30 pm

Racko, use the M25 or M62 in the early morning rush hour then  Big grin
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bobrayner
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Tue Jul 15, 2003 5:24 am

Are you sure about that? I would think that the central european countries with the transit traffic have far more busy roads.

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22busiest+roads+in+europe
29 of 29 results refer to the UK.  Smile
Cunning linguist
 
ben
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Tue Jul 15, 2003 7:06 am


I fly from the left hand seat (unlike lots of others here) so I have no problem changing from left-hand-drive to right-hand-drive.

To everyone who thinks the UK doesnt have busy roads: Chris Rea didnt write "The Road To Hell" about somewhere fictional! (it was about the M25).

The M25 is all your nightmares come true... I've done 10,000 miles on it (and a bit less on the London section of the M4).
 
hartsfieldboy
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Ri

Tue Jul 15, 2003 9:21 am

EGGD- The majority of the world is right-handed, that's why the majority of the world drives on the right. LHD cars are made for right-handers because that arrangement allows the right hand to control more things, like the steering wheel, shifter, and all the various buttons. In the a LHD car, your left hand hardly does any work-it just holds the steering wheel. That's why the pedals are on the left in both RHD and LHD cars, since most people are right-footed. So the RHD layout makes no sense because you need left-handed control of your upper body, and right-footed control of your lower body. On LHD cars, everything is controlled by the right.

BTW, I'm a left-hander, too  Smile
 
bmistaff
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:43 am

Changing gear is so natural you don't have to think about it. Steering is way more important than changing gear. It is for that reason that the strongest hand is need to control steering whilst changing gears (or the radio channel!) especially at high sppeds when more control is needed. So RHS cars are made for right hand people. And since nearly every Britton drives manually both feet are used all the time - Accelerator, Brake and Clutch!
 
cptkrell
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:47 am

Well, some replies here touched on the ergonomic/mechanical relationship that was eventually standardized in the USA. Vehicle controls (ie: gearshift, park brake) are naturally situated where mechanically most efficient, which is in the center of the vehicle. The majority of people are right-handed, so it was also natural to seat the driver to the left of these controls. To view oncoming traffic, it is also necessary to drive on the right hand side of the road.

I had a difficult time taking a right hand vehicle from the Continent to England where I could not see oncoming traffic from behind a truck (lorry?) or bus...Jack
all best; jack
 
Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Wed Jul 16, 2003 5:42 pm

The thing is Cptkrell that all of your points about controls being on the right hand side are coincidence. It is not why Europe drives on the right - see my earlier answer. As for the difficulties of taking a right hand drive car to Europe, of course that is a problem, but the same would be true of left hand drive vehicles in the UK and Ireland.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
cptkrell
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Thu Jul 17, 2003 11:41 pm

Hi, there, Banco. No, I was making a point that controls, like the gearshift, come up from the center of the vehicle...the most direct and least-linkaged route from the transmission. This is design intent. IF a person is right-handed, as most are, the best ergonomic positioning of the driver is in the left hand front seat so he/she can more naturally manipulate the shift with the right hand. This puts the vehicle on the right hand side of the road for other feasibilities previously mentioned. Again, this is design intent, not coincidence.

Why the British (and other countries) chose the opposite, I don't know, but there's certainly nothing wrong with it unless you are hopelessly right handed. Perhaps some of their early designers where left handed? BTW, some specialty vehicles in the US have the driver positioned in the right hand front seat, mail delivery trucks for instance. Best regards...Jack
all best; jack
 
Alessandro
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Fri Jul 18, 2003 7:28 am

F.pier, Japan also drives on the left so if you live in the UK you can buy an used car from Japan that are RHD.
I don´t think it´s a big issue for car manufacturers to build cars for both RHD and LHD, but sure it would be nice if everyone drove on the left or right.
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
QANTASforever
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:29 am

By the way. There is no such thing as a UK citizen, Brits are Subjects of Her Majesty.

QANTASFOREVER
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
docpepz
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Fri Jul 18, 2003 4:44 pm

Indeed. Though a Singapore citizen now, both my parent's birth certificates state "The child is a British subject at the time of birth. "

Alas we are no longer a colony but still fervently anglophillic for some strange reason!!

And yes we drive on the left. And I love it. I'm living in France now till end Jan and have nearly gotten knocked down here so many times by looking on the wrong side of the road while crossing.
 
Banco
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Fri Jul 18, 2003 7:40 pm

Not true, Qantasforever, we're British citizens, not subjects. It certainly used to be true, but not any longer, now we're both citizens and subjects - take a look at a full British passport and it says British citizen. As a curiosity, residents of Northern Ireland are subjects, not citizens, and as a result are not part of the visa waiver system to the US - they have to apply for a visa. I think the same applies to those who hold a British passport overseas.

I'm not sure when this came about, I suspect it must have been one of the nationality acts over the last decade to differentiate between the types of British passport that are out there - so many people hold them around the world.

Jack, I agree with all you say, my point is that the decision to go on the left or right occurred long before cars appeared on the scene, manufacturers have been dealing with the reality, rather than deciding to go on the left or right based on what is better for right handers.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
cptkrell
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RE: UK Citizens, Would You Like To Drive On The Right?

Sat Jul 19, 2003 7:26 am

Banco could be correct, but I still think maybe not. Anyway, it's something I'll look again at from a mechanical history perspective (why does the PIC normally fly from the left seat, etc?), but it's an interesting debate.

Anyhoo, I gotta zoom out of town first of next week and may not have anything more definative by then, but, we won't cancel any beers over it, will we? All the best, and, regards...Jack
all best; jack

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